Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Family That Attacks Together,
Generally Are Jailed Together

It should be that a teacher could be shocked from time to time in the course of their daily class gatherings. To be true to myself I'm jaded. I believe my actions on behalf of my forgotten students speak for me. My collection of students has generally spread carnage in their regular classes. Administrators and teachers in this over-populated high school view my program as the last stop for their 'hoods and huns" before expulsion from school. My view is that of a halfway house preparing these students to return to the general population. The students, all of them, see my classroom as a safe haven sometimes from teachers, from administrators, but mostly from their life outside of school. It is probably all of these interpretations. My greatest ally and my greatest nemesis is the No Child Left Behind Program. A program developed by the feds for their government schools. This barely successful law makes it very difficult to get rid of a problem student.

Now, to the days event that continued to add to my education in family values. The family values that are in stark contrast to the values of a teacher born and raised in the fifties and sixties.

"Good morning Marty," I said.

I watched the normally grumpy student come into his first period class. I wondered if this was the week he was speaking to me?

"Hey dude," he replied. This must be the week. He sat, looking around the empty room. My assumption was that he was waiting for an audience larger than one.

"We missed you yesterday."

"Yeah, I wasn't here." His attention and clarity were amazing. He didn't have long to wait. Four of his morning classmates came in wanting nothing more then to go to sleep. Each one perked up a little when they saw him sitting at the table. If Marty knew the truth about the way his posse talked about him when he was absent he would still tell them outlandish stories, but he would dislike each fellow student even less then he did now.

"Man, me and my boy was chillin' out at my mom's place Tuesday night. I was in court all day yesterday. Somebody put a knife at my throat I don't want to press no charges. My old lady pressed them. I just wanted to take care of them myself."

After so many years of hearing this type of English drivel come out of their mouths I'm sad to say that I understood all he was saying. I knew I did not have to become part of the conversation to collect all of the information. Perhaps even some information the juvenile court judge did not have. I appeared to become absorbed in my morning paperwork. All five of them quickly forgot I was in the room.

"I was hangin' with my boy when Caesar, his step mom, sister, and his old man pulled up in our yard. I went outside. Me and Caesar hang together. Before I knew what was happenin' all four of them knocked me to the ground and Caesar had a knife at my throat. He told me he was going to kill my white ass. One of the neighbors called the cops. My old lady didn't. When they heard the cop cars comin' they all got in his step mom's car and got the hell out of the yard. The cops got them over in the next block and arrested all of them. I had to go to court yesterday."

I would hear the story several times throughout the school day. Each time a bit of embellishment was added by Marty. By the end of the day I had pieced the story together. Marty has a girlfriend, Angel, he is on the outs with since the weekend. She had a relationship with Caesar before she moved on to Marty. Marty had decided to move on briefly to Tiffany, just for a weekend, then back to Angel on Monday. However, Angel had decided to get even with Marty. Evidently she had called Caesar to inform him that Marty was going to kick his ass the next time Marty caught him on the street.

It is safe to say that marijuana was involved in both camps. Caesar dealt drugs and used them with his whole family. Marty, on the other hand, gets his stuff from Caesar. All of the participants were high. When Angel told Caesar his step mom became worried that her best salesman would be injured so she gathered the whole family together and drove over to Marty's rented house.

Marty had been inside his house with a friend smoking marijuana. His mother was in the back room of the house drinking with her current boyfriend. She could not have called the police even if she had heard the attack. The next day in court she could not string together enough of the facts to press charges.

Thankfully the police pressed charges for reckless driving, driving under the influence, juvenile probation violation, and driving without a license. Caesar's whole family managed to get locked up until a future court date.

Marty was inconvenienced having to go to court. A small footnote, Marty did lose his stash to his friend that was smoking with him. This brave soul ran out the back door when the attack began taking Marty's stuff with him. Perhaps the worst punishment any of the characters received would be Marty's misfortune. He got Angel back.